Jon Rahm: Rory McIlroy stepping down from PGA Tour policy role could help him end Major drought

Although Jon Rahm acknowledges that there is “absolutely no chance” he will succeed Rory McIlroy on the PGA Tour policy board, he acknowledges that the sudden resignation of the Holywood star may aid the Co Down man in his attempt to break his nearly ten-year Major drought.
Late on Tuesday, McIlroy announced his resignation as a player-director citing “personal and professional commitments.”

After serving on the player advisory council for the preceding three years, he joined the board in 2021.

His resignation coincides with the PGA Tour’s ongoing struggle to reach a consensus on a new business venture involving the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.

Though world No. 3 Rahm, who has no interest in taking over the position, likes Paul McGinley, he can understand why a player at the top of his game would want to concentrate more on it.

The Spaniard, who is paired with McIlroy in the opening round of the DP World Tour Championship, said, “Oh, you won’t see me there.”

Without a doubt, no chance. I have been asked a few times if I would be interested in attending, and I will not be spending the six or seven hours that these meetings seem to require. I’m not here for that, I’m not.

“As for Rory, I’m not sure why he left the board, but he’s clearly been put in a position where a lot has been expected of him. But I don’t think it’s wrong for someone like him to want to spend a little more time enjoying his family and his game and the little time he’s really earned. Again, being a part of it requires a significant commitment from someone.

Rahm responded, “I’m not sure that really matters if I was surprised or not,” when asked if the news had surprised him. Did I anticipate it? Not at all. However, given everything, I can understand why someone would do what they did.

If McIlroy doesn’t win that elusive fifth title next season, he will have gone ten years without winning a Major. Rahm doesn’t think it’s a disadvantage he’s resigned from the board, but he doesn’t see how it can be anything but beneficial for his game.

“I’m not sure, but it does take some time to be chairman of the PAC. It may have an impact because, in my opinion, it is a major commitment, said Rahm.

“It goes beyond just the meetings. It’s the players phoning you and wanting to speak with you. You’re a little bit busier now than when you spent those hours on the golf course.

“So I think it could hinder a little bit, and there’s a reason probably why I can’t recall any great player being a full-time board member and winning tournaments and majors at the same time, at least in recent history. Maybe there was, maybe back one day on the PGA Tour.

“But I can see how the lack of sleep definitely will limit your ability to compete.”

While his resignation is being interpreted in some quarters as a statement of his discontent with the PGA Tour’s negotiations with the PIF and the continued existence of the LIV Golf League he says he hates, former European Ryder Cup captain McGinley reckons it’s got more to do with his golf.

“I think it’s more about a focus on his career and certainly the big gap that everybody talks about, which is you know, 10 years since he’s won a Major championship,” McGinley told Sky Sports News from Dubai. “I’m sure that’s closely linked.

“He’s been an important person for the PGA Tour certainly and the DP World Tour over the last couple of years as this narrative has kind of unfolded around the Saudis and LIV and all this gone with it.

“But I think it’s more of a clearing the decks and getting his mind ready, particularly for next year going into the Major championships.”

McGinley went on to say he doesn’t not believe the distraction on being Chairman o the PAC for three years has affected McIlroy’s game at all.

“As much as he’s stepped away and focusing on his career I don’t think this narrative around LIV and everything that’s going on in the game with him being front and centre as the chairman of the players board over there has hurt him in any way, McGinley said.

“What we saw at the Ryder Cup was a mentally engaged and inspired Rory McIlroy normally turns into good performances and I really do think that that this narrative in the last couple of years has really helped him in terms of his golf.

“But the one big miss obviously is a Major championship so he’s making decisions ahead of, the Masters particularly next April to get his his mind and everything else in the right place and kind of clear the decks.”

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